Hi friends! Can you believe I’m writing this from sunny, warm California?! Yay for surprise trips and winter getaways!! I hope the Midwest is thoroughly enjoying the snow-dump age we’re slated to receive today…we’ll be soaking up the sunshine over here…follow me on Instagram to see more images of the trip!
It’s no secret that I love to travel. While summers and falls in the upper Midwest are full of sessions, weddings, late nights in front of the computer and an impossible to-do list. Winters and this spring, however, are open for reflection, trips, learning excursions and reasons to get away.
While Mr. Nick and I were on our road trip last spring, I came to realization that I lacked some quality reading material to help pass the hours roaming the beautiful countryside. Generally, road trips leave me sleepy and rendered a useless companion, but for whatever reason on that particular trip, I couldn’t sleep. Plus, I yearned for inspiration and something fun to get my gears grinding about summertime and all things lovely. I craved something to get me through the end of winter and carry over to summertime planning and creativeness. That and I think the fellow was tiring of my road tripping games.
I’m not exactly sure how I got there, but I came across a few blogs that I immediately related to and BAM, I was instantly hooked. Sometimes it’s tricky to latch onto a blog…for me, it’s got to be a perfect storm of an interesting writing style, flowing content, quality images and a user-friendly yet pretty layout. That, and they need to post frequently. I mean, a girls gotta get her fix, right?! Out of the many blogs that I tried to get attached to, I really feel head over heels for four: one baker, one creative clothing stylist, a beautifully fun DIY sister team and one simply amazing photographer.
It’s a known saying in the photography business that in order to continue your own unique style and business model, you shouldn’t follow other photographers work. As in; don’t follow other photographers. At. All. Facebook, Instagram, blogs, websites…no no. It’s depressing, stressful, time-consuming and, ultimately, ridiculous. Everyone has their own vision…might as well use the one God gave you, right?
Anywho, I found Wildflowers Photography website and was instantly drawn in by Joy’s beautiful family and unique blog layout. From there…her words. After that…the images. Oh, her wonderful, beautiful images. It was like wrapping myself in big fluffy pancakes and taking a bath in sugary maple syrup deliciousness to my soul. Seriously.
In the months that followed our 2013 road trip and my newly found invisible interweb friends, I tracked Joy’s unbelievable journey in a handpainted vintage trailer with her husband and four children across the countryside. Her images spoke to my heart and her words weaved beautiful patterns around my heartstrings. I knew I had to attend one of her workshops; the only question was when?
Free time in the summer for a wedding photographer in Minnesota is essentially non-existent. I knew I’d have to be patient and wait until the timing was right before I could proceed with anything. Then, as I was planning out my Christmas schedule trying to remember how to relax after an intensely busy fall, I saw a post on Instagram that Joy was offering a workshop at her home in February. There was my chance; I immediately reserved my seat.
In the days leading up to the workshop, I got to know the other ladies through a Facebook group set up just for us. It seemed as though we were coming from all walks of life with varying degrees of experience, knowledge and ages, but one thing was absolute: we were all undeniably excited for this opportunity to network, learn, share, shoot and just BE together.
I’m not going to go into all the details of what I experienced in those two amazing days in Northern Washington except to say that I was not disappointed. Not only did Joy’s hospitality and kindness blow me away (as well as her sweet, sweet family!!), but the ladies I had the pleasure of finally meeting in person are now most certainly my friends. The quilts, the coziness, the open vulnerability, the photography, the food, the stories…oh, the stories!!…the laughter, the sharing and willingness to check the ego at the door and create a place of comfort, empathy, inspiration, trust and soul-searching…it was exactly what I was looking for. And what I needed.
And what I got.